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Home News Fall Prevention Awareness Week 2023
David Morgan
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Fall Prevention Awareness Week 2023

September 15, 2023 - Injury Prevention - Awareness

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) and the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department (ALTSD) are joining forces to raise awareness about Falls Prevention Awareness Week, taking place September 18-22, 2023. This collaborative effort aims to shine a spotlight on a pressing issue that affects one in three seniors in the state.

“Falling shouldn’t be accepted as an inevitable part of aging, but when it happens, it can lead to serious consequences,” said DOH Secretary Patrick Allen. “After a fall, some seniors experience an abrupt loss of independence, an increased reliance on family and friends, and heightened anxiety for both themselves and their loved ones, fearing a recurrence.” 

In a significant move, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has officially declared the week of September 18th as Falls Prevention Awareness Week. This proclamation is designed to draw attention to the fact that falls constitute the leading cause of injury-related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits among adults 65 years of age and older in New Mexico. 

"Taking a proactive approach to reducing risks of falling can help our older adults live long, independent lives,” said ALTSD Secretary Designate Jen Paul Schroer. “Right now, more than 17% of New Mexicans are 65 years and older, and by 2030, our state is expected to have the 4th highest 65 and over population in the nation. Elevating awareness and creating a safe space to talk about the risks associated with falling may prevent your loved ones from serious injury.” 

DOH and ALTSD recommend the following tips for older adults:  

  1. Engage in a Balanced Exercise Program: Participate in programs that enhance strength, balance and flexibility. Local senior services and DOH’s Paths to Health website offer various classes, including small group workshops and one-on-one sessions with physical therapists. 
  2. Access Your Fall Risk: Utilize the National Council on Aging’s Falls Free CheckUp to evaluate your risk of falling. 
  3. Consult Your Healthcare Provider: Seek additional evaluation of your fall risk, especially if you have a recent history of falls. 
  4. Review Medications: Regularly review your medications to ensure they do not increase your risk of falling. 
  5. Routine Vision and Hearing Check-ups: Maintain annual vision and hearing check-ups and update your eyeglasses, as good vision and hearing are crucial for stability. 
  6. Home Safety: Create a safe home environment by removing tripping hazards, improving lighting, making stairs safe, and installing grab bars. 

For caregivers or family members of older adults: 

  1. Address Concerns: Listen to their concerns about falling and encourage discussions with healthcare providers. 
  2. Health History and Benefits: Discuss their health history, medication management, and encourage them to utilize preventive benefits offered under Medicare, such as the Annual Wellness Visit
  3. Open Communication: Encourage open conversations with healthcare providers about all concerns. 
  4. Monitor Mobility: Keep an eye on their mobility at home and seek physical therapy if needed. 
  5. Safety Assessment: Conduct a safety assessment of their living space, focusing on tripping hazards, lighting, stair safety, and necessary bathroom modifications. 

For more information visit the DOH Older Adult Falls Prevention page.

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